Characters: Boromir, Faramir
Bit of angst.
Ties in directly with just_ann_now's latest, Heirlooms,which makes sense as she's the one who chucked the nuzugl at me. Fortunately, she also did the hard part and gave me a title. :)
Boromir didn’t even open his eyes when a small hand touched him on the shoulder. “Come on,” he said, drawing back the bedclothes and moving over to make room for his little brother. “Just don’t put your cold feet on me.”
Faramir scrambled into the bed and quickly arranged himself against Boromir, who tucked the blankets snugly around them. “Dreams again?” Boromir whispered. He knew that right now, Nanny didn’t care if they shared a bed, but she would care if she heard them talking this late.
Faramir nodded, almost bumping Boromir’s nose with the top of his head. “It was Mother, in the gardens,” he said, voice wavering, and he didn’t need to explain further. Boromir hugged his brother tightly, even while he himself blinked back tears.
“Uncle says that after a time, it won’t hurt as much to think about Mother,” Boromir said, trying to sound confident. “He says that after a time, we’ll be happy to think of her.”
“But it hurts right now,” was Faramir’s choked reply.
Boromir sighed. “I know it does.”
They lay in silence for several moments, then, very carefully, Boromir said, “You – you can’t sleep in here forever, Faramir.” He heard his little brother’s shocked gasp, and hurried to add, “I don’t mind, really I don’t, but – some time you’ll have to learn to sleep in your own bed again.”
“But I like it in here with you,” Faramir protested. “I don’t like being over there all by myself.”
“I’m always right across the hall,” Boromir pointed out, “you can hear me from your room, can’t you?”
“Y-yes,” Faramir admitted, reluctant. “But it isn’t the same. It’s…it’s warmer in here.”
“You know there’s nothing in your room to be scared of,” Boromir said quietly, feeling very guilty. He liked it better, too, when his brother was there. But he had overheard Nanny talking to Mag, just that day. I do not mind, Nanny had said, it has only been three months and if it brings them some peace, that is only for the good. But soon I will have to tell them that they cannot sleep together all the time, and I dread it.
“You can hear me, and I can hear you, and Nanny can hear us both,” Boromir went on. “You’re not all alone.”
“It’s empty in my room,” Faramir said softly, and Boromir could picture the wounded look on his face. “I don’t like it.”
A thought occurred to Boromir . “What if – would you like it better if I gave you Clover to sleep with?”
Clover had been Boromir’s companion for many years; he had never let any other child, including Faramir, play with the stuffed pony, and had, in fact, gotten very upset if anyone else even touched Clover. When he stopped sleeping with Clover, Boromir had set him on one of the shelves in his room, between his treasure-box and the first, now-battered ship that his Uncle Imrahil had given him. More than once, Boromir had seen Faramir eyeing Clover with great longing. But since their mother had died, he had relented and let Faramir hold the pony for very short periods of time. Boromir wasn’t sure why he allowed this, after refusing to let Faramir anywhere near Clover for so long. He knew, however, that it pleased Faramir a great deal.
“Your pony?” Faramir sounded awestruck. “But…he’s yours. That queen gave him to you.”
“He is mine,” Boromir agreed, “but I don’t sleep with him anymore, and I can give him to you, if I want to. Would you like that?”
There was a long pause, and then he felt Faramir’s head nodding against his shoulder. “Yes,” he said. “I would like that. And…and you can borrow Hanu, if you want.”
Hanu was Faramir’s stuffed rabbit, and Boromir was about to explain that he was too big to sleep with stuffed animals when he realized that Faramir was trying to be brave in offering to share his most beloved toy. Refusing would only hurt his brother’s feelings. So instead he just said, “Thank you – I will borrow him if I need to.”
“Can I still sleep with you sometimes?”
“Sometimes,” Boromir said, yawning, “just not all the time.”
There was silence, then his brother’s worried voice. “Do I – do I have to go back to my bed right now?”
Boromir smiled and hugged Faramir again. “No,” he replied. “You can stay here tonight.”